Federal Gov’t Is Vital To Public Safety
President Donald Trump seems to misunderstand the point of his government shutdown. The objective of such an action is to create pressure on the political opposition to agree on contested policy positions, or at least reach a compromise. This should be an easy one for Trump and his Republican congressional allies — even easier than winning trade wars — since they contend that we don’t need all of that government, anyway. Closing the government should just prove that we don’t need it. Yet, as this senseless shutdown has progressed, Trump himself sporadically has recalled various elements of the federal work force to diminish the mounting political backlash against him and his allies. Friday, for example, the president ordered 40,000 IRS workers back to their offices, without pay, so that tax refunds will not be delayed. And the 42,000 members of the Coast Guard have remained at their posts, becoming the first members of the armed services since the Continental Army to miss a payday — a fine legacy for the commander in chief. Also at their posts are 8,000 Department of Agriculture workers who process various aspects of subsidies and loans for farmers, and several thousand National Park Service employees attempting to stave off further deterioration of some of the nation’s best assets. Air traffic controllers, airport security agents and thousands of other federal employees also continue to protect the public while being held hostage to Trump’s border wall fantasy. Perhaps the saving grace of the fiasco will prove to be proof positive that the federal government is vital to public safety and national economic health.